"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."-- Matthew 4:4 In February 2005, less than one month after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed ending Sudan's North-South war, another war was raging in Sudan's Darfur region.
During the hottest part of the dry season, when temperatures soar to more than 120 degrees during the day, PPF led a relief mission to a wilderness community called Jaac along the southern Darfur border of Sudan.
We dispatched our team in response to an urgent appeal from local Dinka church leaders in the area. This border community was now overwhelmed by a flood of Darfur refugees seeking refuge from the Janjaweed.
The refugees were a mix of Dinka Christians and Misseriya Arab Muslims. Two communities of former enemies during the North/South war who God chose to put together in a place called Jaac.
The irony of this situation was not lost by our team. We were greeted in the wilderness of Jaac by former terrorists being hosted by their former victims. We began to reflect on Jesus' command to love your enemies.
One of the Darfur leaders approached our team and pleaded for what he believed represented the two most critical needs for his community. He said, "We need water and the Quran."
They were dying of thirst. Yet this Islamic tribal chief, knowing the extreme desperation of the situation, recognized the immediate needs of his people were more than just physical -- they needed spiritual refreshment and hope.
PPF's Brad Phillips responded that we would try our best to help them find water. As we are Christians, we could not provide them the Quran, but had come with copies of Arabic Bibles. To our amazement the Sheikh eagerly received the Arabic Bibles, and we sat together and began our first Bible study.
Over the weeks and months that followed, God used PPF to provide the desperately needed water to this refugee community. And, at the same time, discipleship projects were launched in this new refugee community including a primary school and an intensive 12-month Bible training course for pastors and evangelists - equipping the local Christian community to reach out to their former enemies.
By addressing the dire humanitarian needs of water, medicine, food and shelter, a bridge of relationship was established which opened the way for the Gospel.
Perhaps the most amazing response by the Muslim community we witnessed was the attendance of the children of Darfur Sheik Mohamed at the Jaac Christian school and the participation of his eldest son in the 12-month Bible training course for pastors.
St. Francis of Assisi is credited with the famous exhortation to "preach the Gospel-- and when necessary use words." Our actions speak louder than words, but the Word is still necessary. It is part and parcel of the holistic approach to ministry in which PPF seeks to engage.
We desire to engage in active compassion for the persecuted. This means feeding body and soul. PPF's Discipleship and Evangelism program walks alongside the physical relief operations to present a complete picture of Christ's love for His people.
Your contribution to PPF's Discipleship and Evangelism fund brings spiritual hope to the victims of persecution.
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